Friday, June 7, 2013

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

A young woman from a small town in rural Tennessee is on her way to an afternoon tryst. Not just unhappy with her marriage but with her current situation in general, this appear to be the quickest way out. As she is traipsing through the woods on the way to the determined meeting place, she is quite literally stopped in her tracks as she crests a hill and sees a valley below her that is blanketed in what appears to be gently undulating flames. Perplexed and somewhat shaken, she takes it as a sign and returns to her home.

This is how Flight Behavior opens, with sex and fire and mystery. The excitement fades a little, as it becomes known that the valley was turned orange not by flames, but by monarch butterflies. As the book finds its pace, the reader is introduced to the young woman. Dellarobia is the mother of two. She and her husband Cub live in a small house in a corner of his parents' farm. She and Cub grew up in Feathertown and although she had dreams to leave, they were never actualized. The monarch wintering in the hills of Tennessee rather than the mountains of Mexico start to attract attention. Meanwhile, Cub's father makes known his intention to sell logging rights to his land--the land that is the winter home to thousands of monarchs. In large part, this is the drama of the book. A slow moving collision of minds that you know is going to happen at any time--with those who are accepting of change and those who want to do things they way they have been done.

I found Flight Behavior to be a very slow read. While I was interesting in the story, and in the characters to varying degrees, the book just crawled along. Not much happens. Conversations span across five and siz pages. It may sound like I am saying that Flight Behavior was boring, but that is not the case. Kingsolver's writing helped hold my interest. She paints a detailed picture of small town at a point where change is necessary but with few residents who recognize this fact.

This is the first book by Barbara Kingsolver that I have read. I bought The Poisonwood Bible years ago, fully intending on reading it. It sits on a bookshelf somewhere. Waiting. I can't say that Flight Behavior has made we want to rush over and pluck The Poisonwood Bible from its shelf, but it did bump it up my mental list of book to read.

3 comments:

heathertlc said...

Although I haven't read this book yet I have to encourage you to read Poisonwood Bible ... it is one of my all time favorite books.

But back to THIS book, thanks for being a part of the tour!

Brittany said...

Seconded! The Poisonwood Bible is FANTASTIC! I have not loved all of Kinsolver's work, but TPB is top notch and absolutely worth a read!

Rowena Hailey said...

I should definitely read this one by her! I'm surprised that I haven't yet. Also if you liked the nature-y bits, Prodigal Summer by Kingsolver is also really good :)

Rowena Hailey (SEO in Moses Lake)